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AG Barr Defends Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland at Testy Hearing

Attorney General William Barr testifying Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr defended the use of force by federal law enforcement in Portland during a combative hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

After nearly two weeks of clashes between protesters and camouflage-clad federal officers outside a courthouse in Portland, Barr said the demonstrations devolved into riots that were “an assault on the government of the United States.”

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said in a prepared statement. “Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.”

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., accused Barr of using federal officers as an election ploy for President Trump.

“Real leadership would entail de-escalation, collaboration and looking for ways to peacefully resolve our differences,” Nadler said.

Barr countered “we cannot just stand aside and watch the federal court be destroyed.”

Last week, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials, saying DHS was not “designed for that purpose.”

Barr also insisted systemic racism doesn’t exist within law enforcement, drawing criticism from Democrats.

“I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country,” Barr said.


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